top of page
Purposeful damage

Purposeful damage

SKU: 5.25
  • Advice

    When renting out a property, as a landlord there are many important aspects that you must take into consideration and be aware of. One of the things that you must take into consideration is what could happen to your property when is rented out. It is important that you understand the legal difference between “damages” and “fair wear and tear”, know what steps you can take if your property is damaged and be prepared to deal with possible disputes with your tenants.

    “Fair wear and tear” are signs of ageing that would appear in a property with time. This includes appliances that have broken down or stopped working due to daily usage, damage caused by extreme weather conditions, painting and redecorations, scratches, marks and discolouration on furniture and surfaces and wear on fabrics. 


    Damage, on the other hand, is caused by the tenant(s) on purpose, accidentally or by neglecting the normal function or usefulness of the property. Examples of damages caused by tenants are: 

    • Broken windows/toilet seats / smashed mirrors etc;
    • Damage caused by a party;
    • Stains and cigarette burns on soft furnishing like carpets and rug;
    • Damage on property and items caused by pets such as urine on carpets;
    • Broken chairs, tables and bed frames;
    • Damaged electrical appliances from incorrect usage;
    • Missing door handles;
    • Holes or dents in the walls or ceilings;
    • Broken doors by forced entry into the property by the tenant; and
    • Mould caused by inappropriate usage of ventilation systems or heating in the property.


    According to section 11 of the Landlords and Tenants Act 1985, which informs about the issues of repairs and damages, it says that “Make good any damage to the property caused by the behaviour or negligence of the tenant, members of his/her household or any other person lawfully visiting or living in the property”. This statement states that tenants would be responsible for repairing any damages that they have caused to your property. Alternatively, if they cannot repair the damage, they should inform you of any damage and ask you to provide them with a tradesman of your choice for them to be able to restore the situation according to your standards.


    If after having performed a routine inspection in your property, you find out that the damage was not repaired then you can lawfully evict your tenants for breach of contract under Section 8 schedule 2 of the Housing Act 1988. You simply need to state that they have failed to adhere to the terms that relate to damages. If however you are not satisfied with the conditions of the state of repairs then you should allow the tenant sufficient time to remedy the situation and get the repairs done again, as in everything there needs to be an element of fairness on both sides.


    When it comes to damages, you can claim the cost of the damages against your tenants, this is ideally done by using the tenancy deposit. (As a landlord, you are legally responsible for securing your tenant's deposits through a deposit protection scheme).


    If the tenant(s) denies the damages that you are claiming against them, you must be able to prove to the tenancy deposit scheme that the tenant caused the damage. This is the reason why having an inventory report (especially a video report) will be particularly useful. At the end of the tenancy, after performing inspections and making appropriate repairs to the damages caused by your tenants, it is important that you also keep any receipts of repairs to damages, as your tenants have the right to see these costs so they can consider whether they want to dispute these costs with you.


    An inventory report will help you to detail anything that is contained in the property that you are renting out, such as furniture, appliances and fabrics and appropriately describe the conditions of all the items and furniture by also attaching pictures before the tenants move into your property. In order, for this to be efficient, the inventory will have to be done before the tenants move into the property and they must be given a copy at the beginning of the tenancy as they must also acknowledge the document and sign it. This procedure will allow you to track any damages that your tenants may have caused to your property. 


    In addition, you will also be able to compare the property conditions before the tenants moved in and after they have moved out of your property so that you can prove to the tenancy protection scheme the damages that the tenant may have caused. The tenancy deposit scheme would have the final say on your claim against your tenants and after they have decided, you won’t be able to challenge it.


    In case the damages that have occurred can't be entirely covered by the amount in the deposit protection scheme, you can apply online on the government website, to a county court and file a claim for the difference.


    How we can help

    If you believe that the tenant has damaged the property then you should investigate the matter without delay, the easiest way is to arrange a visit, or simply discuss the matter with them (or ask your agent to) and if the property has been damaged, we politely ask you to be fair and reasonable with them, accidents do happen, especially if they have children (who tend to bump into everything). A fair way is to arrange an inspection in a few weeks, this gives them time to fix any damage, negating any future concerns.


    At Lestons we feel that early intervention can work wonders, if you are having problems accessing the property to check for damage then we would suggest you contact us. Our normal approach would be to simply visit the property and speak to the occupants to investigate the matter, we would explain at the visit that we are there simply to discuss the matter (their instant reaction would be to think repossession or bailiff so we will reassure them this is not the case). We would request that we be allowed to do a visual check of the property (to allay any of your fears) and then report their situation to yourself and take instruction (we usually try and do his whilst in the property with the tenants via video chat, that way everyone can understand the situation).


    We would inform them that should the matter go to court then the results of our visit would be noted. Should the matter ultimately end up in court for repossession then before an application is made to the court they would usually insist on ADR (Advanced Dispute Resolution), this would be via our visitation report. The court would also consider your actions, if the court think you have been unreasonable then they may throw out your claim.


    To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link. Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our appointed legal team and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.

Click hear to book your

free initial consultation:

bottom of page